SCOTUS preserves assignor estoppel in Minerva Surgical v. Hologic patent case

The front of U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. [Adobe stock photo]

The U.S. Supreme Court, in its Minerva Surgical v. Hologic ruling today preserved the legal doctrine of assignor estoppel — that inventors who sell patent rights can’t turn around and sue over the validity of the patents.

However, Justice Elena Kagan, in her opinion for the majority, did say that the doctrine has limits.

The convoluted case involves the NovaSure system for abnormal uterine bleeding that Csaba Truckai invented in the late 1990s, filing for a patent assigned to his company Novacept. Hologic eventually acquired Novacept in 2007 and got claims added to the patent in 2015. Months later, Hologic sued Minerva Surgical — the new company Truckai had founded — for patent infringement. Minerva Surgical makes the Minerva Endometrial Ablation System, touted as an improved device to treat abnormal uterine bleeding.


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